I’ve seen it, so you’ve probably seen it. Get this preset or action and with one click, get gorgeous photos!
Maybe it’s not advertised so drastically but it’s what pops into my mind. Maybe because I thought when I purchased presets and actions that is what they would do. Maybe I’m just naive.
I would pour over websites that sold actions and presets and would search all the free actions and presets I could find. I downloaded many. I still have what I think is too many. All of that time spent looking at how the website’s photos would change from drab to gorgeous and what preset or action they used to make it happen. I drooled and pined and occasionally hit the buy button.
But something happened.
I’d excitedly load up the action or preset and immediately try it out on one of my photos and duh donnnnn. Bleh.
It didn’t look like how theirs did. In fact, many times it made my photo look worse. What was wrong??
I’d end up forgetting about those actions or presets and move on. Then I took a workshop with instructor feedback on Lightroom. Oh, my! My eyes were opened. So I started soaking up every tutorial I could on Photoshop. I learned so much.
Here’s what you need to know about presets, actions, textures, effects, and overlays:
1. Learn to process your photos yourself by hand. It will help you develop your style. Plus you’ll learn so much about your processing software.
2. If you buy one, know that it probably isn’t a 1 click fix. You need to tweak them to your shooting and processing style.
3. Learn how the action or preset works. Look under the hood and figure out what’s going on so you know how to tweak it. Meaning look at all the panels in Lightroom and see what was done to get the look. Then look in all the tools to see if there is anything hiding. Oh, and don’t forget to look at all the color channels in the tone curve! In Photoshop make sure you look under all the folders and check the opacity. Sometimes it’s just a matter of bringing the opacity down. Also look to see what blend mode is used.
4. Understand, they want you to buy the action, overlay or preset, so they use the best photo they can get to represent the look and style of the action. Yes, you can get that effect but you may need to tweak the preset or shoot in the same style that the original was done. Just because it looks like a dramatic change or the end style is what you want, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you. Many companies offer a free sample or version – try those out first.
5. The purpose of a preset or action is to make your workflow faster, not fix your photo. Practice getting your photos correct in camera first and use the preset or action to put your style and some polish on the photo.
6. Take stock of what you already own and what you’d like to accomplish before buying. Make a plan with a vision. Don’t buy just because the preset seems on trend and awesome looking. What is your vision, your style, and does the action or preset fit within your goals?
7. Don’t buy everything on sale or download every free offer. You’ll only bulk yourself up on choices. You don’t want too many choices. It’ll make decisions difficult and you may find your vision and style lost within all the options. Focus on your vision and style then have a few that will help you refine and produce it.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating your own style, your own presets, or even how to tweak those that you already have, consider signing up for a general mentorship and we’ll focus on just that. If you’d like more information or how it would work consider contacting me for a free 30 minute conference to see if I’m a fit for you. Leave your email and three times that work for you and I’ll get back with you.